What’s brewing over at South Lake Shore Drive?
A decrepit pedestrian bridge is up for replacement to benefit pedestrians and cyclists.
The unique design of the new pedestrian and bike bridge with an allocated budget of $18.3 million will surely catch a lot of drivers gawking every time they pass.
The old and dilapidated 75-year old bridge will soon be shut down to pave the way for construction of the new one. The new pedestrian bridge is expected to give South Siders an enhanced link to the lakefront.
The First Suspension Bridge Over Lake Shore Drive
The unique, curving bridge design resulting from a 2005 design competition wherein participants were asked to come up with the design of a bridge that would replace the old and outdated bridge. An architectural and engineering firm, Teng & Associates scored the winning design.
According to the Structural Engineers Association of Illinois, the design of the 620-foot suspension bridge made use of the classical self-anchorage suspension bridge using all types of bolts that will hold the structural components together, with a unique twist. The bridge is designed to:
- cross over Lake Shore Drive
- give panoramic views of the skylines of Chicago and Lake Michigan
- be the first suspension bridge over Lake Shore Drive
The winning bridge design to replace the old bridge over Lake Shore Drive from a 2005 competition.
An A-shaped tower is featured in the bridge’s design, with a single suspension cable designed to carry the weight and support the bridge deck. The curved characteristic of the bridge’s design presented some difficulties but have no impact on the structural properties and strength of the bridge. The unique look of the replacement bridge will easily become a popular civic icon for the City of Chicago.
The new bridge will be an aesthetic addition to Lake Shore Drive and reconnect people with Lakefront amenities.
Reconnecting The People With Lakefront Amenities
The construction of the new bike and pedestrian bridge to replace the aged bridge will span the nearby Illinois Central railroad tracks that carry Metra and freight trains. The bridge will also provide an essential link that will reconnect the citizens of Chicago with the lakefront amenities distinct to the city.
The new bridge will provide easy access for wheelchair users and bikers. Advocates for safer and more convenient ways to walk and bike around Chicago such as the Active Transportation Alliance acknowledge the effort of the designers to incorporate such factors in the bridge’s design. The designers took a step in the right direction as they included convenient access for people in wheelchairs to enjoy moving around the city.
Bikers are given convenient access to roam around the city using the new bike and pedestrian bridge being constructed at Lake Shore Drive.
Joint Venture Team To Construct The Bridge
Construction of the replacement bridge was awarded to a joint venture of Araiza Corportaion and James McHugh Construction Co. The senior vice president of McHugh, Michael Meagher said that the team is excited to work on such an important project for the city and it residents. The joint venture team has started construction work at the site and is expected to have the bridge ready for use by Fall 2015.
Aesthetic Addition To Lakeshore Drive
The Araiza Corporation’s assistant project manager, Gina Williams said the bridge will not just improve safety for the users but will provide aesthetic relief to the old bridge that has been labeled an eyesore by people who always pass by this area. And the new bridge could very well start a trend of replacing the old bridges such as the bridge at 41st and 43rd Streets with a similar design. The 43rd street bridge project has been allocated a budget of $22 million to replace the existing bridge in 2015.
Are there more pedestrian bridges in the country that need to be replaced?